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A woodland playground refound

Over the course of the past week, I've had the opportunity to enjoy a number of winter's recreational, pleasures, from skiing to skating to snowshoeing to sledding and more. Regardless of the deep freeze that settled in last week, skiers and skaters, sledders and anglers were out in force. While snow depths still vary considerably depending on the location, there remains plenty of the white stuff to go around.

In fact, in the Champlain Valley, a new record was established as January's accumulated snowfall of 48.5 inches set an historic standard for the month. But before the climate change naysayers attempt to use the new record as evidence to refute global warming; it is important to note that 28.5 inches of the snowfall was delivered in just one storm.

We should not forget that the oddball weather also delivered over two inches of rain, flash floods, 50 mph gale force winds and 55-degree days, in January. Such extremes provide an alarming indication of the weather we can expect in the future. It is a more reliable index than the freak snowstorm that dumped over two feet of snow.

The experts agree that with continued climate change, such extremes in weather will no longer be considered extreme. In fact, such oddities are likely to become the norm as thaws and heavy rains, soaring heat and extended droughts combine with bitter cold, biting winds and deep snows in an escalating, seesaw pattern of variations in weather.

The Adirondacks will experience earlier ice outs and fewer ski days, wetter summers and hunting seasons that pass with little or no snow cover. Drier springs and searing summers will bring lower water levels and deplete oxygen content. Oxygen deficient fish will become sluggish and algae growth will flourish. The effects of climate change will bring major affects to our traditional patterns of outdoor recreation.

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